It was a hot summers’ day and I was out free climbing on the outskirts of town with some of my closest friends. We all knew it was dangerous, but we liked the rush that it gave us. We were young and were living life to the fullest. It had rained earlier on in the day and we knew that going climbing probably should’ve waited until the following day to allow the surface of the rock to dry a little bit more to ensure a safe climb, but we were stubborn and decided to go anyway.
As we climbed my friend told us about this crazy plan he’d devised after reading a blog post written by somebody who had done something similar. He planned to save up some money, go to Thailand and try his hand at starting a business. He chose Thailand because the cost of living was low compared to Canada which would allow him to put 100% of his time and energy into grinding to make stuff happen without needing to allot any time to working to support himself. He said that he’d heard of many people who had claimed to have been able to live off 5000$ or less for 6 months in Thailand. I was really impressed by this idea and agreed that he should do it.
We continued scaling the face of the massive rock. It was an impressive rock. The kind of rock that demands respect because one false hand movement would result in a 20 foot fall. We climbed and nothing seemed out of the ordinary aside from how slippery the rock face was. We had gotten about half way up and I’d say that we were about 25 feet off the ground when I started to get cocky. I started climbing a lot faster than usual. It was fine at first, but one errant hand movement soon had me gripping onto a smaller, protruding rock for dear life. I looked down… It was a long way down. The protruding rock was only big enough for me to grip it with one hand. I held on, but my strength faded and my hand gave out and I fell. My life flashed before my eyes as I fell. I thought that was it. Certain death or at least a lot of broken bones awaited me.
I hit the ground, but something broke my fall. It smelled bad and made a weird squelching sound as I tried to get my bearings and stand up. The strange substance was all over my hands. Still disoriented, I lifted one of my hands to my face to try and smell it. It smelled terrible!… suddenly I realized what it was that I had landed in. It was….
BULLSHIT! I landed in bullshit!… just like this story! I’m sorry if I had you at the edge of your seat, but that story never happened. I never went free climbing with my friends (I’m too scared to do that) and I most certainly never fell 25 feet. I wanted to make this post a bit more interesting and I hope it worked!
Although the mountain climbing part never happened, my friends and I did in fact have a conversation about his plans to go to Thailand. That part actually did happen, but it probably happened late one night during one of our many drives through the country roads in 2013 when we should have been sleeping. I thought it was a super cool idea and I was honestly pretty envious of it. I really wished that I had it in myself to plan something so daring and to actually follow through with it. Obviously it was as simple as sitting down, planning, saving money and then going, but I couldn’t find it in myself to just do it. The idea of going abroad and trying my hand at starting a business with zero business knowledge or experience appealed to me, but I didn’t believe that I had what it took to do it. Fast forward a couple years and I went on my first trip to Europe… alone. I solved problems, climbed over every obstacle that was put in my way and made it back to Canada a changed man. Despite this… despite my travelling experience. The idea of going to Thailand for 6 months to grind and try and start a business still seemed impossible. For some reason, I believed that my buddy needed to go first. I couldn’t be the first person to do it. If we both liked the idea, but my buddy hadn’t gone for it yet, then there was clearly something obvious that I was missing or hadn’t thought of. He definitely had it figured out and there HAD to be something holding him back. Something that would hold me back too, but that I just wasn’t seeing.
I now know that I could have just gone. There wasn’t some esoteric factor that was preventing me from going, I was just subconsciously comparing myself to my friend and convincing myself that if HE didn’t possess what it took to go, then I didn’t either and that leads me into the topic of this blog post! Finally! (I know there was a lot of build up!)
As we all know, Neil Armstrong was the first Human to step foot on the moon. He was the FIRST human, not the second. He knew the dangers, but still went through with it. Imagine if Neil Armstrong had had the same mindset regarding going to the moon that I had towards going to Thailand. Imagine if he sat in the briefing room and thought “Gee, I wish I could do that, but I don’t have what it takes! Somebody more capable should try instead”. If he had believed that and thought so lowly of himself, then he probably never would have gone to the moon and made history.
“It’s all about the confidence, man!”
“It’s all about the confidence, man!”. That was my friend’s motto and catch phrase. He’d say that allll the time and you know what? He was completely right. He’d been saying that even before the whole plan to go to Thailand had formed. I lacked confidence and compared myself to other people too much. I viewed a lot of people as objectively better than me in many aspects of life. There were many people that were and still are better than me at a lot of different things, but I kept putting too much weight and significance on all of it. There were a lot of other ambitions that I shared with other people too during, before and after this time period, but it always came back down to the same thing and that was that I didn’t believe that I could be the first person to do anything because I honestly and truly believed that if I was able to get going before the other people that I was definitely missing something obvious and was headed straight for failure. This was true for starting a blog, for starting a youtube channel, for travelling more and for many, many other things.
The time I almost drowned… but not really!
One day I just jumped into the deep end of the pool… with my clothes on…I didn’t even know how to swim. I sank at first and regretted my decision, but then something remarkable happened! I began to float. I couldn’t believe it. That’s exactly how it went with my youtube channel. I didn’t believe that I had it in me for the longest time and then one day, I decided to just do it!.. and no, I’m not sponsored by Nike. My channel started off slow, but then a few people began to watch my stuff. More and more people followed and then a bigger channel I had somehow never heard of shouted me out and my channel began to snowball for a little bit. I currently sit at just over 1100 or so subscribers, but that’s 1100 more subscribers than I’d have if I’d never tried. I don’t put very much out on youtube at the moment because I’m focusing on blogging, but the point is that it actually was “All about the confidence, man!”. I just needed to believe in and trust my abilities and take action.
The hidden story behind my blog
I had tried my hand at the YouTube thing and actually got people to watch my stuff. I didn’t have the most subscribers in the world, but it was still a small win!
Despite the fact that I had attempted YouTube, I still lacked confidence in a lot of different areas. I wanted to start a blog, but was self conscious about my writing and my ability to be creative using the written word. Ironically the same friend and a few other people that I’d met had either started blogs or had put serious thought into it. “The ones who already have blogs have ALREADY made it, but the ones who haven’t are clearly aware of some esoteric information that I’m not yet privy to” I thought to myself. It was the SAME toxic way of thinking that I had when my friend told me about his plan to go to Thailand! It hadn’t gone away, it had just gone dormant.
I was bored at home on a warm day back in May 2018. I had just gone through a break up and wasn’t yet used to having so much free time for myself and felt kind of lost because of it. I needed something to occupy my mind when I wasn’t working or out with friends.
I don’t know what clicked, but I hopped on youtube and began searching for videos on how to start blogs. I had just gone to and returned from Europe after exploring the continent for a month and that made me feel like I had a bit more general life experience under my belt by this time, but I still felt very unconfident in my ability to blog, but what did I honestly have to lose and if I failed, I’d know that it wasn’t for me!
I watched a few videos and ended up stumbling upon one that was FULL of information. I started the blog a couple days later. My first blog post followed suite, then the second, then the 3rd, then the 4th. THIS will be my 41st blog post. Some people have written more in this time and some people have written less, but it doesn’t matter, I summoned the confidence in myself to at least try! I DIDN’T have to be the second man on the moon. It was all in my head!
I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this in at least some way. What I was doing in many cases was analogous to somebody getting to the finish line at the end of a heated race… in 1st place… then stopping to let the other racers catch up and win because he/she didn’t believe that he/she were actually capable of winning the race without something being off or that he/she had maybe taken and illegal short cut that the judges had missed or something.
We don’t need to think so lowly of ourselves! We’re capable of a lot more than we allow ourselves to believe, but we compare ourselves to others and it makes us feel bad about ourselves. YOU’RE living YOUR life and I’M living MINE. What other people do doesn’t really matter unless we’re literally directly competing against them. If my neighbour can jog faster and longer than me, it doesn’t really matter unless I’m planning to challenge him to a long distance race. Otherwise, I’ll just go about my jogs in peace and so will he. If my second cousin starts a successful blog AND youtube channel, it doesn’t need to effect me negatively. I’m still free to try my hand at both, regardless.
I still do suffer from this negative way of thinking to this very day. I even compared myself to others as I wrote this post, but I try to always catch myself and remind myself that I’m my own person with my own skill set and that I shouldn’t compare myself to others. It’s hard, trust me, but it’s also very liberating. You just need to look deep inside yourself and find the confidence to at least try regardless of what your peers are doing!
At the end of the day, my friend’s words still do ring true. It honestly is all about the confidence, man!
And as the title states,
You don’t need to be the second man on the moon!